Vietnam will receive an official development assistance fund of 86.2 million USD under a new cooperation agreement signed with Belgium in Hanoi on June 22.

The agreement on a new indicative co-operation programme for 2011-15 between Belgium and Vietnam was signed by Vietnam 's Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Kingdom of Belgium 's Directorate General for Development.

The fund is expected to be mainly used to improve sectors of water and sanitation and governance in Vietnam .

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh said, "The co-operation programme is entirely consistent with the country's Socio-economic Development Plan 2011-15 which is expected to be approved in September this year."

While poverty reduction remained the programme's core goal, it was also scheduled to support Vietnam to cope with emerging challenges, including climate change impacts, lack of skilled human resources, developing green-based economy and gender disparities, he said.

About 43 million USD would be allocated to water and sanitation to cope with and reduce climate change impacts in three provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Ha Tinh.

Director General Peter Moors of the Directorate General for Development said the programme would spend about 17 million USD to cover interventions in the governance sectors.

Belgium had tripled the funding of its scholarship programme to 12 million EURO (17 million USD) to help Vietnam solve the lack of qualified human resources, he said.

On the same day, the first Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between the two countries was also held in Hanoi .

Belgium and Vietnam discussed space technology, dredging, waste and water management, the health sector as well as food safety issues.

Belgian Prime Minister Leterme said: "In the long term I hope Vietnam will become the primary and privileged economic partner of Belgium in Asia ."

The next Joint Commission on Economic Co-operation will be held in Brussels in the autumn of 2012./.